6th November 2021
Bristol & West 2nd XI [2-4] Clifton Robinsons 3rd XI
Report by Simon "Birthday Boy" Barrett
Top of the league and flying high, the mighty B&W 2nd XI travelled away to Badminton School in Bristol to face their toughest challenge yet, 3rd place Clifton Robbies. A successful, professional club with the first team in the national hockey tier, B&W knew that these were their main rivals for the top spot and it would be a tough day at the office. Still, the 2s were their usual positive and energetic selves, joking in the changing rooms, listening to the team’s dodgy playlist….many of which were chosen by Dave “Wurzels lover” Vernon. In good spirts the team went out for the usual, high intensity warm up and were buzzing and ready for the start.
The usual fast start that we have come to enjoy from the 2s was blunted by a very organised Robbies team and B&W were pinned back into their half for the first 10 minutes, but a very cool and calm back four of Colm McManamon, Josh De Witt, Rob Hazelwood and Gary Iles controlled the situation and allowed B&W to grow into the game and slowly take control. This culminated when pressure started to mount on the Robbies back line as Alex Law took advantage of a beautiful piece of play down the left-hand side by Joe John to slot the first goal of the game in, 1-0 to the Mighty 2s. B&W continued to apply pressure winning a number of short corners but were unable to convert. The half settled into a period of stalemate with no real clear-cut opportunities, until the final minutes, when Robbies won a series of short corners and just before the half time whistle managed to convert one of them, 1-1.
As always, the half time oranges (and rousing team talk), did the trick and Tom Varney, recently promoted to the squad form the 3s where he has been prolific, slotted a gorgeous shot from his usual yard out to score his first goal this season for the 2s, 2-1.
From this point the game changed, Robbies used all their experience to change their approach and started to dictate the game by skilfully stretching the midfield of Simon Barrett, Phil Brown, Dave Vernon, Sam Doe and Kian Goodwin (also helping out up front) and isolating individuals with fast play. B&W fought hard…..maybe a little two hard with a number of players getting green cards, which meant at least 10mins of the half were played with only 10 men on the pitch. Robbies took advantage and applied more pressure winning a number of short corners, converting 2 of them taking them into the lead, 3-2. But B&W were not done, pushing forward they won, in total, 10 short corners but failed to convert any of them, something to work on for the next encounter.
With B&W pushing to reduce the deficit, they were left exposed and even the heroics of their goalkeeper Wayne Manton couldn’t keep out a well worked open play goal, and with that the whistle followed shortly after. Final score 4-2 to Clifton Robbies. It had been a tough game and everyone had worked hard. Luckily it was the Skippers birthday and the lads were in good spirits with some special “surprises” in the changing rooms after.
MOM: Rob Hazelwood, for solid defensive work
DOD: Simon Barrett, it’s his birthday….of course.